Did My GCSE Choices Matter?

Recently I was talking to my younger cousin about what he’s taking at school for his GCSE’s. He rattled off, Geography, Resistant Materials, Business Studies…and one more I’ve forgotten, whoops. Anyway, it got me thinking about my own GCSEs, this summer it will have been 7 years since I left school (which makes me feel a little sick because, um, when did I get old?!) and I’ve never been asked for a job what I did at GCSE.

For the record, I didn’t pick the most academic subjects and by that I mean I didn’t pick any academic subjects. My choice GCSEs were Music, Drama, Art and Textiles, see not one on that list they were all creative and looking back on my emotional, misunderstood self, that makes a lot of sense. Also to me as a very creative adult that makes a lot of sense. Anyway, I’m rambling and getting away from the point. So, I’ve been wondering if what you choose at GCSE makes any difference to your life at all. I don’t think it did to mine.

Now, I know some people will be thinking about jobs like Doctors or Vets in which university admissions basically want you to know that’s what you want to do when you come out of the womb (which is total bullshit, but that’s another post entirely). I get that BUT for the majority of jobs what you choose when you’re full of hormones and spots doesn’t make a huge impact on your adult choices, you can retrain later, you can change your mind. Hell, the job I do now didn’t exist when I was making my choices.

 

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The day I picked up my GCSE results

I got good results, I went on to study at college (enough to add an extra course later on) and then got into university but do you know what? I’ve only been asked once to provide a certificate for my grades, I didn’t get to the interview but that’s one time. I’ve never been asked what I studied at GCSE, it’s never had an impact on my future.

So, did it matter? No, I don’t think it did and I don’t think it does for most people. I don’t think we should put pressure on these kids who make a decision at 14 years old about what they like. Introduce me to one person who still agrees and believes everything they did at that age. I’ve changed since that age, I’ve changed since last year!

What did you take for your GCSEs, do you think it impacted your life? Let me know in the comments!

 

Why I’m Not Studying a Postgrad Degree

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A year ago I truly believed that I would be preparing for Fresher’s week again, with a stack of new stationary and pre prepared novels read. Instead I am sitting back in Basingstoke, curled up on the sofa, fairly relaxed with a to do list for work tomorrow. I’ve spent the summer earning money and reading whatever I like. I never thought I’d be so happy to be working, but I’m finally finding a rhythm for myself. That said, many people wouldn’t believe me when I said I was happy, because all I spoke about, wrote about, breathed about was becoming an Academic, so what changed?

Third year made me realise that I needed a break. I worked myself half to insanity, I was in hospital because I was so stressed and probably spent more time in tears than I did happy in my third year. I’m not saying all third years will fare this way but dealing with the recovery of my spine, depression and other personal issues on top of the pressure I put on myself to get a first made me very ill. On top of that, I realised that part of my decision to continue study was through fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of not knowing who I was outside of education. I’d always been the smart girl, I had always been the hard worker and over achiever, hence why my mental health struggled when my grades didn’t come back as constant firsts, as they had before. I saw myself in Plath, when she wrote of her struggles with what she should do, should she chase education, something she knew she could do?

In short, I didn’t carry on studying because I need a break. I realised that most of my ambitions were based on a false security. Education was safe for me, something I could do. I could work hard and be good. I’d stay in the library late, I’d keep winning prizes and scholarships and then I’d be an academic. I was scared to step out of that box I’d been in since I was 4 years old. And now, after speaking to countless other new graduates, I see that I wasn’t the only one and so many have gone into masters programmes after saying they don’t know what else to do.

This doesn’t mean I won’t go back and study later on. I still have a passion for literature, I’m still interested in looking at Gender, Sexuality, about the impact of literature on young people’s lives, about Mental Health in post WW1 literature.  I still have a passion for it and I still read things about these issues. BUT! Now I have another passion, something I love and want to get into. I love my job and the more I get into it, the more I feel like a masters isn’t something I need, it’s something I might do at some point. I’ve moved on though, I no longer feel trapped by being the ‘smart girl’. I have people around me in a job that value my opinions without me having to be the ‘know it all’, because I’m not stupid I know that there were occasions people spoke to me because they thought I had the answers. I finally feel that my self worth is tied to more than grades.

Of course this is all personal, this is all how I feel right now. In a year it might change, I might save and go back part time but it’s good for me to get away from feeling like a number and someone’s opinion defines me.  I’m not doing a masters because I needed a break, I needed to grow on my own and I’m enjoying it.

How blogging has changed my life

I wanted to start this blog saying thank you to Jenny in Neverland and her blog which inspired me to write this.

My Career ideas 

I’d never really thought about blogging in this way but as soon as I sat down I realised that it’s one of the biggest parts of my life and it really has changed me and my opportunities. Before I started the blog I had absolutely no idea of what I could do as a job. I definitely still want to do the whole lecture thing and that’s the main aim but it’s five years away and even if I get the grants and financial help I know that I can’t just do nothing in the time that I’m studying. My blog started my spark for social media and marketing so professionally, it really kick started an idea for a possible career if I decide not to do my PhD.

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My Confidence 

It’s no secret that through school I had a massive confidence drop, I didn’t feel confident with myself, I wasn’t sure who I was or what I wanted to do. So when I started to get likes, people reading what I’d written and being told that they enjoy it. I might not be getting 10,000 views but the views I do get make me feel good about myself and that I’m doing something worth doing. If I’m having a bad day, one of your comments can make all the difference.

Connecting with people 

Like I just said, talking to people online can really change my day. I’ve ‘met’ some great people through blogging, people who understand some of the things I struggle with. I’ve spoken to some amazing authors too, I’ve received notes, preview books and other things from truly nice people.

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I got to talk to Katie Piper  on Twitter, one of my absolute idols

Trying to make a difference and sharing my experience

I write about mental health because I want people to understand and be educated. I know that education is power and the only way that we can possibly end the stigma that people who have a mental health condition face. If I can help one person or educate another then I’ve achieved something that I’m proud of.

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Something to get out of bed for and a positive way to let everything out 

Depression doesn’t choose the days you have nothing to do to hit you with it’s worst, it’s fun like that. Some days the whole struggling to get out of bed thing rears it’s ugly head and I just don’t see the point. I do struggle like loads of other people in the world but the blog gives me a way to express myself in a positive way. It lets me talk to other people and I get encouragement too. I can use it to look at how far I’ve come too, one of my favourite things to do on New Years Eve.

I have a way of looking back at my uni days, I won’t forget

And if that’s not a good enough reason I don’t know what is. 1907515_10206793085448473_2364060322551983456_n

I’d love to hear your responses so make sure to tag me if you want to write about how blogging has changed YOUR life. Also give Jenny a follow too, because her blog is awesome!